If you like the idea of only paying exactly for the services you use, prepaid electricity may be the best option for you. But it is not available in all states. Prepaid electric services have excellent benefits but may also present problems for some clients. These can vary by state, so it is best to look up the details that pertain to your state. Read on to learn more!

What is prepaid electricity? Sometimes called “pay as you go” electric, prepaid electricity is exactly that—electricity that you pay for before you use it. When you sign up for prepaid electricity, you do not receive an electric bill. Instead, you purchase a set amount of kilowatt hours to start with. When your balance of kilowatt hours drops below a set point, you purchase more. Residents living in states with prepaid electricity, like Texas, can take advantage of savings through companies like Now Power.

States with Prepaid Electricity

States that have prepaid electricity have passed laws deregulating the sale of electricity. These states are New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Delaware, Maine, Illinois, Connecticut, Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. Some of these states only have deregulated electricity in certain cities. So, if you live in one of the states with prepaid electricity, it is best to check the guidelines of your state’s energy commission.

Competitive Rates

Because these places have deregulated energy, that means that consumers have options and can choose the company that provides their energy. The choice of electrical providers creates market competition and prepaid electricity rates that are highly competitive. This, in turn, greatly benefits consumers who cannot afford standard, postpaid electricity prices, and contracts. Because of these highly competitive prepaid electricity rates, if a customer is not happy with the supplier they have chosen, it is very easy to switch to a different supplier.

Manage Your Electricity Usage

A question that many people have is whether prepaid electricity is better than postpaid. One of the major misleading beliefs about prepaid electricity is that it is a more expensive option. People assume that they will use their prepaid amount very quickly and end up needing to purchase more electricity. An electric company in Texas called Now Power has an excellent solution to this issue. Now Power uses an electronic device called a Smart Meter that records electricity usage in frequent intervals of an hour or less. The Smart Meter then uses a wireless network to communicate a customer’s electricity usage to Now Power detailing how and when they use it. The Smart Meter also communicates this to the consumer so they can monitor their usage. Consumers can see when their electricity usage is too high in a certain area and even when their total usage drops their account balance is too low. The Smart Meter can even help Now Power provide consumers with tips to help them conserve electricity. Many companies in other states use this same type of technology.

No Credit Check, No Down Payment Necessary

Another area in which prepaid electricity is better than postpaid is that it provides a way to secure electricity without a credit check, or an upfront deposit, and it doesn’t require a social security number or state ID. This setup works in favor of low-income consumers or consumers with less-than-desirable credit. In the past, these consumers would have to rely on friends or family members to be the account holder so the credit check could be passed. But the growth of companies in states that have prepaid electricity allows low-income or bad credit consumers to have dignity and choice. This alone can answer the question of if prepaid electricity is better than postpaid for many people.

No Contracts or Hidden Costs

Other ways that prepaid electricity is better than postpaid are that there are no contracts and there are no hidden costs. Most standard electric companies require a signed contract and charge fees for connection, disconnection, and account service fees. Prepaid electric does not have any of these. You pay for what you use in electricity. There are no surprises because you control your bill, and you are paying upfront for what you plan to use in electricity. When your balance goes low, you pay for more.

Now Power

Now Power in Texas offers more benefits and rewards to their customers as an incentive for joining. They offer speedy connection service, often getting customers connected the day they sign up. Now Power also has a plan called Smart Balance 30 that rewards customers with additional savings for maintaining a $30 balance on their prepaid account. Additionally, they run a promotion called Refer-a-Friend in which they reward customers for referring family and friends. Now Power is just one of the options available in the state of Texas where a consumer can sign up for prepaid electric services.

Limitations of Prepaid Electric Services

While prepaid electricity is very helpful to many people, there is something of importance to note. In most of the states that have prepaid electricity, if you are a critical care or chronic condition residential customer, you will not be able to purchase prepaid electricity. These are consumers that have vital and necessary medical equipment that runs on electrical power. This rule is put into place by each state’s energy commission for the safety and well-being of these consumers. These consumers are only eligible for a standard or postpaid electrical services.

Final Thoughts

For many, prepaid electricity is the way to go. It does have limitations for some consumers. But for most, it offers competitive pricing, no contracts or hidden fees, no credit check or down payment, and easy ways to manage your electricity usage. If you are interested, simply Google “prepaid electric companies” or “prepaid electricity rates” in your state of residence and see what comes up!